contributed by Amy Shores, Director of Pastoral Care at Methodist Family Health
Having been an Arkansan and Methodist since 2011, I have heard of Methodist Family Health for the past several years, but I will admit that I did not have a very comprehensive understanding of the different facilities and programs that were available to help families in need. As a youth minister, I even led my youth group in serving at the Methodist Children’s Home campus in Little Rock from time to time, but I still was unaware of the breadth of programs that existed. As an organization, Methodist Family Health is so fortunate to receive so much support from Arkansas United Methodist churches and individuals. It is our hope that by further explaining our different programs over the next several months, we can continue to help families receive the help they need, work to dissipate any stigma that surrounds mental health treatment, and help Arkansas Methodists find the best fit for ways that they may want to continue to join in prayer or service to our clients.
– Amy Shores, director of pastoral care at Methodist Family Health
Methodist Family Health has two residential treatment centers, one in Little Rock at the Methodist Children’s Home, and one in Bono, which is in Craighead County. Our RTC programs are for youth ages 6 to 17 (trending older), and students can be referred by various sources, including parents, churches, schools or mental health clinics. A typical stay at our RTC is 4-to-6 months, and while in treatment, the students focus on individual, group and recreational therapy.
We are very proud to be in our new residential treatment center in Little Rock, which opened in September 2018. Here, clients have their own rooms along with shared living, dining and recreational spaces. Because students need to continue schoolwork while at the RTC, we also have classrooms, and this school follows the Little Rock School District calendar.
Staff members at the RTC include behavioral instructors, therapists, doctors, nurses, administrators, teachers, and dining and housekeeping staff – all working together to ensure all students receive the best possible treatment for their mental disorders while learning new ways to cope with problems they may face at school, home or in the community.
Students at the RTC can eventually earn outings as part of their treatment along with weekend passes to return home to work on the skills they are learning.
However, at least for the first several weeks, it’s difficult for most of our clients to have enough time at home to be able to attend church. We have a weekly Bible study, and we also try to have at least one volunteer group come in each month to lead a Sunday service for our students.
Several local churches have also opened their doors to our students to visit youth areas on a Saturday pass or to occasionally join an activity with their youth.
If you are interested in volunteering to host our RTC students, or if you have any adults or youth who would like to lead a service at one of our RTCs, please contact Amy Shores, director of pastoral care, at email@example.com.